Whether you’re a serious athlete or you play sports just for fun, there are many opportunities to participate in sports at Penn. The University’s Department of Recreation offers students, faculty and staff the chance to play in 38 sports clubs that focus on everything from aikido to water polo.
The clubs offer instructional, semi-competitive and competitive levels of play, says Mike Reno, PennRec’s associate director of structured sport. “Some of them are the closest to varsity you can get,” he says.
While some of the clubs focus on instruction and skill development and only play a few games a year, others focus on serious competition. Those hold tryouts for members. All the clubs are made up of a mix of students, faculty and staff.
The more competitive clubs host and participate in tournaments and leagues, with some playing teams that are ranked in the top 20 in the nation.
Most of the teams are also members of sports associations and compete against other Ivy League schools and colleges in the region. They sometimes also play regional teams. The Tae Kwon Do team, for example, will soon be heading to the University of California, Davis, to participate in a national competition.
There are separate men’s and women’s teams for sports such as lacrosse, rugby, soccer, tennis and waterpolo, but some sports, such as ultimate Frisbee and swimming, are coed.
Currently, the clubs play at 10 locations across campus, on Penn’s fields and courts, and the Class of 1923 Ice Rink. Several clubs play on city-owned fields in Fairmount Park. But, when Penn Park opens later this year, several of the sports, including rugby, plan to play on the new fields that will be located near Franklin Field.
Originally published on March 17, 2011